Book Reviews

Top Secret Twenty-One: a review of Janet Evanovich’s newest Plum adventure


top secret twenty one greentop secret twenty one otherJanet Evanovich has released two new covers for her latest Stephanie Plum book. I am extremely picky about books in series matching so I went for the lime green cover instead of the purple. I didn’t realise that I had bought the large print edition online until it arrived in the mail. The fact that you can read the font from space is just another added bonus, I guess.

While I’m on the topic of font I will say this: I hate it when authors and/or publishers emphasize words with bold or italic highlights. I guess I don’t mind it every now and then, but this book was littered with bold font emphasis everywhere. And it got annoying. I don’t know that I can truly explain my feelings of annoyance in a logical way, but it annoyed me nonetheless. I am a very strong believe of readers being able to choose their own emphasis and interpretation of the text. That is the magic of reading a book. No two people read the same book because they create and find meaning in different ways. Maybe it’s just me? Please let me know what you think.

Anyway, about the story. There is a crazy Russian trying to kill Ranger. I should mention that the Russian is not only crazy, but he is also missing an eye and wears an eye-patch. This makes me think of the villains from James Bond or Get Smart. Meanwhile Stephanie is sort of babysitting Briggs, who is a midget blast from Stephanie’s bounty hunting past. He is about as annoying as anyone could possibly get. Although, at the same time, sort of loveable. There is also a pack of feral chihuahuas owned by a homeless man. These little minions end up saving the day by the way.

Stephanie has the typical Ranger/Morelli love triangle (I don’t know if I’ll be yelled at for saying this) which is kinda getting old. She has been swinging between these two guys since the series started. She is more or less with Morelli most of the time, but Ranger always comes back into the picture with a kiss here and a fondle there. I’m not saying that Stephanie should pick or even has to pick, but I am sort of waiting for something different to happen. And this love triangle brings me to my next point of discussion. Sex.

Like many Stephanie Plum books, there is sex. Although, I have a bone to pick (pun intended) with some of the terminology.

“I felt the kiss travel like lava to my doo-dah.” p105

“We’re going to use my wonder tool.” p212

Now I could be completely alone in this, but what the heck? No seriously. Who refers to their vagina as a doo-dah? Is this normal? And really, wonder tool. Wonder tool. Who says that? And I’m seriously asking this because I have never heard anyone say these things unless it’s some sort of terrible terrible joke or pun. I’m not sure what the purpose of these sex scenes are in these books, but if the intention is to sound super lame and weird, then BINGO! Is this what women really want to hear, doo-dah and wonder tool? I don’t want to speak for everyone here, but I find myself cringing every time I read something like doo-dah, nether regions, wonder tool, or magic stick.

So, I know I just ranted about a series that I love and an author who I respect, but that is what makes me so passionate about the series. Janet Evanovich has settled into a simple plot line that is basically the same in every book. There is not greater narrative development anymore. Things are at a standstill. And it sucks to see the characters that I grew up reading fall into this. The question that I have been asking myself the whole time whilst reading this book is; is it time to write the end of the Stephanie Plum series?

I don’t know if I’m ready for the answer…

What do you think about Evanovich’s new book? Is she getting lazy and does the series need to change to stay alive? Please remember to share the reading love.

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